Holiday candles: Candles in Judaism
Candles carry various symbolic meanings in Judaism. Candlelight is often thought of as a reminder of God's divine presence. When lit during Jewish holidays and on Shabbat they serve as reminders that the occasion is holy and different from our day-to-day life. The two candles lit on Shabbat also serve as a reminder of the biblical obligation to "remember" and "keep" the Sabbath. Traditional white candles can be used as well as tea lights. As soon as they are lit, we are free to shed the worries and work load behind and ahead of us. From sundown to sundown we are commanded to relax, pray, eat and enjoy the company of our family and friends. It’s something to look forward to every week!
The candle flame in Judaism is thought to represent the human soul and is a reminder to us to acknowledge the fragility and beauty of life. The flames breathe, grow, change and struggle against the darkness and will eventually fade away. The flickering light reminds us of the fragility of our lives and of those we love. Because of this, Jews light memorial candles on specific holidays and on the anniversary of a loved one’s passing, also known as Yahrzeit. The memorial/Yahrzet candle is meant to burn for 24 hours and comes in a variety of sizes from tall to short, encased in glass or in a metal cup. By lighting these candles we honour and commemorate our loved ones who have passed. We reflect on their lives and remember why they were so special to us.
The ritual end of Shabbat is observed using a braided Havdalah candle which must have more than one wick in order to create a larger flame. The flame symbolizes the division between the upper and lower worlds with Shabbat as its gateway. Once the braided candle’s flame has been extinguished, Shabbat ends and the new week begins. These braided candles are available in a wide selection of colour, special braided design and sizes. Lit one hour after sundown, we drink wine and breathe in the aromatic spices which warm our soul. Havdalah sets come in a wide variety of styles and make great housewarming or wedding gifts.
During Hanukkah we commemorate the victory of the Maccabees over the Syrian-Greek rulers of Jerusalem and during the temple’s rededicated, the miracle that G-d made one day's worth of oil burn brightly for eight days. We honour the festival of lights, by lighting a candle each night, playing dreidels, eating potato latkes and sufganiyot, and exchange small gifts with loved ones. At World of Judaica we also carry a variety of oil cups that can be used to light your menorah instead of candles! Hanukkah candles can be really festive and are sold in a variety of sizes and colours.